Following the October 9 presidential debate one name came out on top, Ken Bone. The unassuming 34-year-old St. Louis resident took the internet by storm with his vibrant red sweater and comfy demeanor. He won the hearts of millions and reaffirmed a few key points about marketing in the process.
There is still no substitute for being at the right place at the right time
— 🎃 Skelebrad 🎃 (@toreap) October 10, 2016
If there was ever an example for right place, right time, this is it. 68.8 million viewers were watching the debate and none of them could’ve predicted that Bone would burst onto the scene the way he did. While there is still some luck that goes into it, refining your targeting and working to understand them should still be a top priority for any campaign.
Find ways to stand out
In today’s age of information overload and oversharing it’s easy to get lost in the avalanche of content coming at consumers. Discover your red sweater and stand out from the crowd.
— Carpe DM (@zacthezac) October 10, 2016
In a tense debate, Bone’s humanity jumped off the screen. Something was unquestionably endearing about how he was seemingly unfazed by the gravity of the moment and asked a question that impacts his day-to-day life as an operator of a coal plant, “What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job layoffs?” Your audience needs to know you care about them as much as Bone cares about this question. Marketing shouldn’t mislead or over promise. Be earnest at all touchpoints.
Be nimble and adapt
Speaking of the red sweater, did you know Bone’s decision to wear it was actually his plan b? Like pants, campaigns will fail and you need to be prepared when they do. Whether it’s adjusting the creative or shifting the buy make sure you can quickly react to what the audience is telling you about your campaign.
Be prepared to take advantage of your moment
Game recognize game https://t.co/Ktg824cjSP
— Phil Friend (@Phil_Friend) October 10, 2016
Ken came in prepared. He had a notecard with his thoughtfully written question on it and knew exactly what he needed to do when called on. Since then he has appeared on CNN, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and CBS News to name a few. Whether it’s an opportunity to impress a new client or continuing a 10 year relationship there is no replacement for proper preparation. Additionally, once your proper preparation pays off be ready to take advantage of it and maximize the impact.
UPDATE: Know the law
— Ken Bone (@kenbone18) October 14, 2016
On Oct. 13 Ken Bone decided to send out a promotional tweet for Uber. The problem was he didn’t indicate anywhere that the tweet was endorsed, which violated FTC rules. Engadget has a good summary of what happened. While it can be forgiven for someone unfamiliar with the landscape. Clients and bosses trusting you with their marketing and advertising may not be as forgiving.